Working Groups

All important information on the different working groups can be found below.

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Advancement of high temperature insulation materials on the basis of nanoporous carbon.

The main goal of the project is the enhancement of carbon-based insulation materials for elevated temperatures. Lab prototypes synthesized from nanoporous carbon are to be scaled-up to tailored usable materials for a range of different applications. The novel insulation materials for temperatures exceeding 1500 °C should outdo commercial graphite insulations by a factor of 2 to 5 (dependent on the associated operating temperature).The project can be separated into three entities:

  • Optimization of existing material concepts and two novel composite approaches in terms of low final product bulk density, thermal conductivity and good scalability of the associated process steps. Special interest is placed on the industrial-scale feasibility of the production process (e.g. large throughputs, insignificant generation of waste-products) and manufacturability of the novel materials.
  • Formulation of concepts for upscaling and composite synthesis as well as further downstream product enhancement processes.
  • Assembly and assessment of a demonstrator setup to compare the novel nanoporous insulation materials to conventional materials. After evaluating conventional insulation structures regarding their performance, the setup will be equipped with the newly synthesized nanoporous insulation panels to characterize their performance with respect to the reference material(s).


Development of a continuous process for the production of aerogels with the aim of increasing the energy efficiency.

Aerogels are porous solids with pore sizes in the range of some ten up to hundreds of nanometers, exhibiting extremely high specific surface areas (100-2000 m2/g), exceptionally low heat as well as sound conductivities and great porosities of up to 99 %. Even today they are contributing to energy efficiency of numerous different processes and can be considered as important growth drivers in various sectors, such as biotechnology, e-mobility, aerospace engineering, material development and production technology.

Aim of this project is the first-time development of a pilot scale continuous process for the production of aerogels via supercritical CO2 drying. With the aim of minimizing energy and material requirements for aerogel production, continuous techniques and their instrumental realization are to be found for the individual process steps – gelation, solvent exchange, supercritical drying and decompression to ambient pressure – in the course of this process development.

The conception of the process should occur on the basis of results from preliminary tests. Here, possibilities of process integration, especially regarding gelation, solvent exchange and supercritical drying, should be considered, before devising and evaluating different process alternatives. After the realization of the pilot scale aerogel production plant and its proof-of-concept, the attainable aerogel characteristics and the process stability are to be assessed by the TUHH. By the means of the obtained experimental results and process modeling, the process’ energy efficiency is to be optimized and, in cooperation with BASF, suitable scale-up strategies are to be devised, in the following. Lastly, BASF is supposed to assess the energy and resource efficiency of the entire process and examine the usability of aerogels in different fields of application.


Prevention of cost-intensive casting errors through aerogel additives.

Casting defects are extremely common phenomena during the casting process, which require a costly post-treatment of the fabricated components, or in the worst case their rejection. The addition of small quantities of aerogel to the core sand-binder mixture can eliminate the occurrence of a vast majority of these undesired errors. Through this method, which was developed at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the amount of rejected parts can be reduced substantially, entailing a significant increase in the associated processing energy efficiency. This was validated by initial feasibility studies conducted by the Bosch Rexroth AG.This project aims at the development of technical routines for aerogel production on the basis of established lab routines, to propel the aerogel production form lab scale to industrial scale. The results of these experiments are pivotal and lay the foundation for a rapid implementation of industrial aerogel production.


Production of gels and aerogels from noble metal nanoparticles suitable for inkjet printing.

The main goal of the project NAFT is the synthesis of gels and aerogels from noble metal nanoparticles, which are suitable for inkjet printing. Here, the deployment of fine colloidal nanoparticles will facilitate the realization of highly porous, interconnected layers, which can be deployed as catalysts, electrocatalysts or electrochemical sensors. The expertise of the Technical University Dresden in terms of the related key synthesis technologies and the process engineering infrastructure of Plasmachem GmbH lay the technological foundation for the Immobilization of thin layer aerogels on coated surfaces and therefore allow for safe surface bonding.

The focus of the NAFT initiative is placed upon energy and resource efficient synthesis routes for highly efficient (electro) catalysts and sensor with extremely large surface areas, allowing for the smallest possible noble metal utilization. With respect to the process energy efficiency, special attention will be placed on the cost-efficient and well established inkjet printing technique, finding application in a range of different fields.